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Accompanying FAQ's

I've heard that I can get a free accompanist from UTK.  Is this true?

    Yes and No.  UT does not provide a free accompanist but rather will pay for some of your hours with your pianist.  We do this to help alleviate your burden of paying a pianist for ALL of your rehearsals and lessons.  However, you will still have to pay your pianist for your hearing, dress rehearsal, recital or jury. 

I'm entitled to seven hours, but I only met my pianist three times.  Can I count my jury as one of my 'free' hours?

    No.  UT helps you to pay for your pianist when they you have excessive need in preparing for your recital.  Juries are not covered by UT regardless of whether or not you utilized your maximum number of hours.

Well, since I only used three of my seven hours this semester, can I add my unused hours to next semester and have eleven?

    Nope.  Like most cell phone plans, UT does not provide roll-over minutes for unused accompanist hours.  The per-semester allotment is a maximum.  We need to keep the hours limited to that number each semester in able to protect the pianists, all of whom play for multiple people each semester.

I've scheduled a recital, now how do I obtain a UT paid accompanist?

    In the Fall, you and your teacher received multiple emails with instructions about submitting the online Accompanist Request Form before the September deadline.  If that deadline has passed you may still submit the request but a UT pianist cannot be guaranteed.

Why is the deadline for submission of the Accompanist Request Form so early?  I had not set a date or finalized repertoire by then.

    There is a lot of demand for UT's Accompanying Grad Assistants during the first weeks of the semester.  A deadline for requests is necessary in order to make assignments and set their workloads.  Even if you do not have your date and repertoire finalized, you should still submit your request before the deadline so that we may have a pianist in place for you.

Where do I find the Accompanist Request Form and information about accompanists?

My friend (an English major) is a great pianist and would like to accompany me on my recital.  Will UT pay for him/her to play for me?

    This is possible.  As long as your teacher approves of you using this pianist, UT can provide some funding as long as you submitted your request for an accompanist by the deadline (and funds are available).   Make sure you indicate this on the Accompanist Request Form.

Do I have to use a pianist listed on the Accompanist list?

    No.  See above.

Why is my pianist trying to charge me for my recital?

    UT does NOT provide a free pianist for your recital.  UT only offers to pay for a certain number of hours to assist in your preparations (this means rehearsals and lessons).  You will still need to pay your pianist for your hearing, dress rehearsal and performance as well as any hours that may have exceeded UT's allotment.

Will UTK pay my pianist's hourly fee?

    Not necessarily.  If you have asked someone to play for you UT can offer the 7 or 14 hours of accompanying by paying your pianist for those hours.  HOWEVER, (like most health care plans) UT severely limits the amount per hour that we can pay.  You will need to make sure that your pianist will accept that amount. If not, YOU are responsible for paying the difference.  In other words, if your pianist wants $50 per hour, you will be paying a significant portion of that yourself regardless of how many hours you're entitled to.

If I have asked someone to play for me, do I still need to submit an Accompanist Request form?

    If you want UT to pay your pianist, Yes.  You still need to submit the request form.  If there is funding available, UT can offer some assistance (up to the maximum number of hours).  Again, if you submit your form after the deadline this funding cannot be guaranteed.

Why do voice majors get 14 hours per semester but I only get 7?

    Because of the nature of voice lessons. Voice students need a pianist in every lesson.  With 14 teaching weeks per semester, they are provided with a funded pianist for each week.

Why does the Voice Department get first dibs on all the good pianists?

    They don't!
    THE MYTH:  is that the voice department grabs all the pianists first and there is no availability left for instrumentalists. 
    THE FACT:  All faculty and students are notified of the deadline and receive the Accompanist Contact Sheet at the same time.  Because singers require pianists in every lesson, they tend to aggressively secure their pianists during the first week of school.  Most instrumentalists tend to wait until later in the semester when they have a need. 
    ANOTHER FACT:  No Accompanying Assistant plays exclusively for singers!  A portion of their hours are kept in reserve for instrumental requests. 
    ANOTHER FACT:  The Staff Pianist does not play exclusively for singers either.  Although most of his obligations are to the voice and opera programs (this because of the funding sources for this position), some of his hours are reserved for instrumental needs.
    ANOTHER FACT:  Few, if any, requests from instrumentalists for an accompanist have ever been denied. 

I'm playing very advanced repertoire and my pianist does not seem to be up to the challenge.  What can UTK do for me?

    Compared to most schools in the country, UTK goes far above and beyond in attempting to offer accompanying services to most of its students.  However, we can only do the best with what we have.  We are fortunate to have four Graduate Assistants, a fine staff pianist and a few extremely capable players at our disposal to meet the demands of this school.  Needless to say, there will be times at which the demands outweigh the supply of pianists.  We do our best to provide a pianist suitable to your repertoire.  If things are not working out, please discuss the matter with me.  If it is possible to reassign someone this will be done.  However, UT cannot guarantee you will be provided with the pianist of your dreams.  If you can find him/her, talk to me and perhaps we can assist with the funding to help pay your ideal collaborator. 

I'm a saxophonist and I want to play the Denisov Sonata.  Can I have a pianist assigned to play for me?

    No!!!  There are some works in the repertoire that simply fall well outside the parameters of what could ever be considered an assignment.  If you want to take on such a project I will be more than happy to discuss options and maybe try to find a creative solution.  However, as mentioned in the previous question, UT cannot guarantee or assume responsibility for providing a pianist.  If you can find someone from outside to play for you, I can assure you they will not play for UTK's rates.  Like every other saxophonist on the planet, you can expect to be paying significantly out of pocket for this. (Awesome piece though!!!)

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